JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

June 2, 2013
Atlanta, GA USA
Review by Chris Eason
Photos by Chris Eason

Fall Out Boy

Era of 'Emo" Not Dead

I thought the era of 'emo' was dead. At least that was the decree making the rounds several years ago when one of the movements primary movers and shakers, Fall Out Boy, said goodbye.

Yes, when a frazzled Pete Wentz, Patrick Stump, Andrew Hurley and Joe Trohman decided to take a voluntary "sabbatical" from each other in 2009, this group was supposed to fade away into indie pop lore. In essence, they would become a distant memory never to be heard from again The emotionally overbearing music they had created, you know the one that mixed hardcore passion with sensible indie rock intelligence, was finally dead and buried.

There was only one slight detail these musicians didn't count on. The thing that ended up being dead and buried would be individual careers. No one cared, especially consumers, what these four attempted to create musically on their own. Yes, The Damned Things that involved drummer Hurley and guitarist Trohman gained some early traction, but it was doomed once axemen Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano returned to Anthrax. As for Pete Wentz, he married a Simpson - a real one, not the cartoon variety (though some would beg to differ), and had a child. His ill-conceived project never sprouted legs and he ended up divorcing both of them. And then there was record producer, actor and artist Patrick Stump. He was definitely not prepared for the intense criticism he received for his failed solo project.

And that brings us to 2013. The members of Fall Out Boy learned the bitter side effects that come when the individual parts think they are greater than the sum. The fact these musicians got back together after an abysmal four years apart wasn't necessarily a surprise. The overall public embrace of their reunion, however, most certainly was. Tonight, a sold out crowd numbering close to 2,600 enthusiastic souls crammed in to Atlanta's venerable Tabernacle theater to behold the spectacle of a rejuvenated Fall Out Boy. They would not leave disappointed.

Before I address the successful return of the emo poster boys, I would be quite amiss if I didn't mention the opening act, New Politics. This ultra-hyper Danish act is about as energetic as they come. Lead singer David Boyd looks like he's on a permanent adrenaline rush as he bounced about the stage - and even into a delighted audience. The group had just released their sophomore album, A Bad Girl in Harlem, two weeks prior to this show, so it's understandable why they were eager to spread good tidings of joy. The few cuts the band performed off the new disc went over well, especially "Harlem." The one song that really got the crowd hopped up, New Politics style, was their hit single, "Yeah Yeah Yeah" - not to be confused with the band, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The hit single, not the aforementioned group, pretty much summed up the mood this crowd had whipped itself into waiting for the main attraction.

When the lights went down, the noise inside the Tabernacle reached ear-splitting levels. Good thing too!
The show opened with "Thriller" the band's self-aware outlook on life, not Michael Jackson's paranormal masterpiece. After this introduction, the band knocked out three of the funniest titled tracks you'll ever find. The first two, off the band's breakthrough album From Under the Cork, were titled, "I Slept with Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me" and "A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More Touch Me." They followed that with the "Baba O'Reilly" crashing chord intro to "Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes" off the 2008 all-over-the-map recording, Folie a Deux.

Joe Trohman seemed to have benefitted the most from his extended 'fall out' from the boys, i.e. Wentz and Stump. The guitarist's stint with The Damned Things, and his playing alongside the Anthrax metal maestros, seemed to have reenergized his playing in the band. It also gave the musician a renewed sense of respect. Throughout the night, Trohman was visibly more upfront, emerging from the shadows to claim a spotlight for himself. Also feeling the sense of esprit de corps was a very svelte Patrick Stump. Not only had he shed some 60 pounds of bulk since his last Fall Out Boy adventures in 2008, he was quite comfortable with his singing as well. As for Pete Wentz, fatherhood obviously had a calming effect on him.

Tonight's show, and I suspect every stop on this tour, is a showcase for the 'grown up' version of Fall Out Boy that previously had refused to entertain any thoughts of doing so in the past. Their performance was tight, Stump's vocals were excellent, and the overall vibe of the band was lively and confident. If any of the fans in attendance this evening had memories of this band's performances back in their heyday, they would have been pleasantly astonished out the level of maturity Fall Out Boy had risen to. The anxiety that used to permeate throughout the band, especially bassist Wentz, was indeed a thing of the past. Stump is more assertive with his vocal delivery. Maybe the hat he wore had something to do with it. Drummer Andrew Hurley was as steady as they come. Regardless, watching this band crank out prime cuts from their past, mixed with new tunes from their reinvented present, was a transformation that absolutely delighted this audience.

The press may have been laughing at Fall Out Boy four years ago, but the joke was obviously on them. The band has more than proven second chances, although rare in the music business, can come back stronger and more focused than ever. The group already has a platinum single under its belt with "My Songs Know What You did in the Dark (Light 'em Up)". Expect even more surprises from the band this fall when they headline a triple bill of mid-size arenas and 5000-seat theaters this fall.

Welcome back. Growing up isn't a hard thing to do afterall.

Set List:
I Slept with Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me
A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More Touch Me
Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes
The Phoenix
This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race
Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things to Do Today
Alone Together
What a Catch, Donnie
Death Valley
Hum Hallelujah
Grant Theft Autumn / Where Is Your Body
Sugar, We're Goin' Down
Young Volcanoes
Dance, Dance
I Don't Care
My Songs Know What You did in the Dark (Light 'em Up)
Save Rock and Roll
Thnks fo th Mmrs